It’s video game week at SB Nation, which means we’ll be referencing Madden quite a bit. As a kid, if a play didn’t go your way, there was a good chance you’d start the game over. Today, we’ll go through a series of plays throughout the history of San Francisco 49ers that you would want to change.
While it’s impossible to narrow the list down to four plays as you can make an argument for 20, but we’ll stick to the four most prominent plays since 1990, starting with the Super Bowl against the Chiefs last season. Instead of the second to last possession when Jimmy Garoppolo missed George Kittle wide open that would have sealed the deal, we’re going to go to 3rd & 15. That conversion happened with over seven minutes left in the game. Let’s say Kansas City doesn’t convert, and the 49ers take over up ten points.
A first down on their next possession likely takes a couple of minutes off the clock and forces the Chiefs into desperation mode. The same desperation that caused the Niners only to move the ball 27 yards when the offense took over with over two minutes to play in the game.
Super Bowl 47
Next, we have Super Bowl 47 against the Ravens. First and goal from the seven-yard line was set up by Colin Kaepernick hitting Michael Crabtree on a “glance” route for 24 yards. The next play the Niners run power to Frank Gore for 33 yards to get down to the seven, but that would be the last time Gore would touch the ball in the game. LaMichael James’ third carry of the game went for two yards. This seemed like a good opportunity to let Kap run, but hindsight is 2020 (even though he scored a 15-yard scramble earlier in the quarter.) The next three passes were intended for Michael Crabtree, which I love. Get the ball to your best player. The design, not so much. Rolling out your quarterback near the goal line shrinks the field and makes life easier on the defense. If you recall this play, Kap has to throw the ball right away or take off and run. He did have two receivers open in the back of the end zone, but, again, hindsight.
Third down the 49ers ran “stick,” and Kap was locked in on Crabtree. I imagine he was told to get rid of the ball sooner, and he did just that. Unfortunately, he missed Delanie Walker open on the “stick” route that would have been an easy touchdown. The fourth-down fade never had much of a chance, and that was all she wrote. Harbaugh was on the sideline pleading for a holding call, but the way Crabtree ran his route, they were never going to call a penalty.
As for the other two plays, we covered Kyle Williams fumble(s) in the NFC title game in 2012 two weeks ago. The final play is a fumble by a running back in the 1991 NFC Championship game that goes against my contractual obligations to talk about, so I’ll let you pick which play of the four you’d change.
Which play would you change?
This poll is closed
3rd & 15 against the Chiefs
Goal-to-go series against the Ravens in SB47
Kyle Williams fumble in 2012 NFCC
RB fumbles in 1991 NFCC